450 Entrepreneurs Attend Startup Canada Day on the Hill in Ottawa

Startup Canada revealed some numbers surrounding its Startup Canada Day on the Hill, which was held in Ottawa last week.

According to the organization, more than 700 people attended the event, which consisted of numerous keynote addresses, discussion panels, and small meetings between entrepreneurs and Members of Parliament. Seven federal cabinet ministers attended, alongside 5 Members of Parliament and 450 entrepreneurs.

“Canada can realize its potential for social and economic growth by supporting entrepreneurs from the bottom up,” said Victoria Lennox, CEO and cofounder of Startup Canada. “A culture that supports entrepreneurship feeds startup growth, and government needs to work with those in the trenches, like Startup Canada, to ensure Canada remains competitive.”

“Canada’s startups and the entrepreneurs who run them are known for their tenacity, their creativity and their innovative nature,” added Minister of State for Small Business Maxime Bernier, who hosted the event in partnership with Startup Canada. “Our job as a government is to make sure the right conditions are in place for them to grow their businesses and to succeed.”

A key theme to the day was immigration, which made Canada’s Startup Visa Program a hot topic at the event.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship drives economic growth and helps to secure future prosperity for all Canadians,” said Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. “Immigration is vital to innovation and to meeting Canada’s economic and labour market needs.”

At the event, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Diane Finley announced the fourth call for proposals for the Build in Canada Innovation Program.

“Entrepreneurs have such an important role in driving innovation in this country, which in turn creates jobs and economic growth for Canada,” Minister Finley. “Our job as a government is to fuel that spirit and drive in Canada, and this new Call for Proposals will help kick-start businesses by getting their innovative products and services from the lab into the market.”

Another theme that emerged throughout the day is the importance of investing in strong communities that support entrepreneurs.

“We recognize that government does not have all the answers to dealing with society’s social challenges,” said Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister for Multiculturalism. “Communities and businesses have long been the leaders in finding innovative solutions to helping vulnerable Canadians. Governments should tap into these solutions and no longer ignore them.”

Today Startup Canada has organized the first ever “Startup Canada Day on the Hill,” which brings together a contingent of Canadian entrepreneurs to Parliament Hill alongside the nation’s elected representatives.

According to Startup Canada, this milestone event will underscore the important role government plays in supporting and empowering entrepreneurs, who are the backbone and foundation of Canada’s prosperity.

Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander spoke to members of Canada’s startup community and industry leaders today as part of Startup Canada Day on the Hill.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship drives economic growth and helps to secure future prosperity for all Canadians,” said Alexander. “Immigration is vital to innovation and to meeting Canada’s economic and labour market needs.”

Earlier this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada launched the SUV Program. The SUV Program is the first of its kind in the world, providing sought-after entrepreneurs with permanent residency and access to a wide range of business partners. The SUV is a five-year pilot program and is limited to no more than 2,750 applications per year. It is designed to attract high quality and select entrepreneurs who can advance the Government’s innovation agenda.

In October, Minister Alexander announced that the program was being expanded to include a new stream for business incubators. The Business Incubator stream complements existing venture capital and angel investor streams by attracting early-stage and high growth businesses, and entrepreneurs who can contribute to a culture of innovation and commercialization in Canada.

“Government plays an important role in supporting and empowering entrepreneurs, who are the backbone of Canada’s prosperity,” added Alexander. “Our government will continue our efforts to attract the best and brightest immigrant entrepreneurs, who have the potential to build innovative companies that can create jobs for Canadians and compete on a global scale.”

Photo: Reuters